One of the biggest mistakes I made as a new mom was not making time for myself. So many people told me to do it. But I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't even sleep at night, how was I supposed to carve extra time into my day to focus on me? There were times my husband and I were barely talking, how was I supposed to put myself as a priority if my marriage was falling apart?
Yet I look back and realize I had so many things backwards. We were learning what our new roles as parents meant for our lives as super sleep-deprived and selfish humans. We do not have a perfect marriage today, far from it, but we're learning how to be better versions of ourselves and work as a team every day.
One of the big things that shifted after having kids was the amount of time we could spend on whatever we wanted.
Before kids, I used to run. A lot. I had time. A lot of it. So I ran and it felt great. Training for different races kept me motivated and moving.
After kids, I couldn't figure out when to take long runs that didn't involve pushing a stroller....though I still did that when I had to. (sidenote: We love our Bob Single and Double Stroller for running.)
Because running with a stroller wasn't always the easiest and it didn't give me any alone time at all....One of the best things we did when our firstborn was 5 months old was get a gym membership. Not necessarily because I was worried about the numbers on the scale, more because my entire life exercise had offered me an escape or a release that I needed to stay emotionally stable. That gym membership meant that I was getting up at 4:30am to pump breastmilk and going to the gym from 5am-6am before teaching middle school. And as much of a sacrifice as it was, it was so worth it.
That hour at the gym every day when our son was little was sacred for me. It became my "me time".
Going for runs or exercising for has always been my "me time".
Sometimes I listen to a great book on Audible, or a podcast to inspire me, or a spotify playlist to keep me moving. Other times I like to just go and listen to nothing (besides the buzz of traffic and the occasional birds singing).
18 months ago I tore my Meniscus and my ACL while simply getting into the passenger side of the car one night on our way to a birthday party. It was likely a re-injury from my tear in University 12 years prior.
That night I felt as though my world was ending.
I know that sounds dramatic, but with a 5 month old baby and a 3 year old, a full-time job, and all sorts of daily responsibilities, getting out the door for a run was my only mental break during the long days. It was how I made time for me.
So many people (especially those close to me) told me I'd likely never be able to run again. Especially if I didn't get surgery as many of the doctors said was necessary to ever run again.
I chose not to get surgery. I went to 5 months of physical therapy and worked through the fear and pain of putting weight on my leg again. I started jogging slowly. It was like starting all over again. It was hard. I cried a lot. (sidenote, if anybody needs an amazing physical therapist in Guadalajara, I can definitely recommend Dr. Arik Gohl.)
I swam for a year, which I'm still doing and that has been amazing.
But I'm super happy to say I'm running again.
Not as fast as I once was, but I honestly can't tell a difference in which knee I injured 18 months ago. My "good knee" is the one that gets sore from time to time, which means I need to keep stretching, strengthening and working out. I even have an upcoming 5k on the horizon.
So to all of you chasing a dream, reaching for your goals, trying to make time for yourself....don't give up when you're going through a tough season or when somebody says you'll never be able to do it.
You can fall and get back up.
And appreciate the gift of running (or whatever it may be that you're doing) once again.
We all can.